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Russia: We will attack United States military if Trump strikes Syria again

14 March 2018

"Look, right now, first civilians are being taken out of Afrin in vehicles through a special corridor", Erdogan said.

"We aim to give Afrin back to its rightful owners", President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Turkish forces were within firing range of that route, which leads to a pair of regime-held towns - essentially encircling Afrin and 90 villages to its west.

Turkish president says he hopes to clear Afrin of terrorists by Wednesday evening.

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A joint Turkish and Syrian rebel attack on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin has drawn Kurdish fighters away from the USA -led coalition fight against ISIS and into an alliance with Assad against Turkey.

These forces faced an "operational pause" due to the departure of Kurdish fighters, as well as recent tensions between pro-Syrian government forces that erupted into deadly violence, including the deaths of Russian citizens from US airstrikes last month.

The YPG, the Kurdish force defending Afrin, dismissed Erdogan's statements. Turkey considers the YPG a serious threat to its security, while the U.S. has relied on the group in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned Turkey on Tuesday that the scale of its offensive may be disproportional.

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The Turkish air strike hit a checkpoint on the road to Afrin, where Turkey is waging an offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia, he said.

"Even if Turkey's concerns over the border are legitimate. this absolutely does not justify the action by Turkish troops deep inside the Afrin area", Le Drian told parliament.

The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and that "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians.

- Pro-Kurdish demonstrators protesting against Turkey's military offensive in northern Syria have clashed with police outside the USA embassy in Paris.

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Turkey considers the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria and its armed wing YPG to be "terrorist groups" with ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). "Soon, we will stomp very strongly on the terrorists there", he said.

Russia: We will attack United States military if Trump strikes Syria again